Does George W. Bush believe it’s okay for rich people to avoid paying for taxes? Or does he think that it’s just one of those inevitable facts of life that cannot be changed? At one of his “Ask President Bush” events–the faux townhall meetings his campaign arranges–Bush on Monday was talking about tax policy with a businesswoman who had been planted at the event. In fact, he asked her more questions than she asked him. During his exchange with her, he said,
“That’s why you’ve got to be careful about this rhetoric, we’re only going to tax the rich. You know who the–the rich in America happen to be the small business owners. That’s what that means. Just remember, when you’re talking about, oh, we’re just going to run up the taxes on a certain number of people — first of all, real rich people figure out how to dodge taxes. [Laughter.] And the small business owners end up paying a lot of the burden of this taxation.”
That sounds like Bush was saying that since real rich people know how to duck the tax man, the government shouldn’t bother trying to tax them. Now, how is it that Bush knows so much about these tax-dodgers? And if it is true that across the land rich folks are gaming the system, then why doesn’t Bush want to change the tax code so that these citizens do not escape the IRS’s net and small business owners obtain specific relief (if they need it)? Bush is arguing that since wealthy individuals know how to avoid paying their full share the government shouldn’t even bother having higher rates for millionaires because those rates only end up applying to small business owners. But waitaminute: don’t small business owners have accountants as good as those retained by well-heeled individual filers? More importantly, why does Bush think it’s funny that “real rich people”–who have benefited the most from his tax cuts–dodge taxes? And if he thinks these taxpayers (or nonpayers) are able to escape the burdens of the higher tax rates, why did he give them massive tax breaks?
Oh, lighten up, I hear Bushbackers saying, it was just a joke. Yeah, leave it to this president to yuk it up about tax avoidance schemes. I suppose if he can laugh about those missing WMDs in Iraq, he can laugh about the rich getting richer at the expense of honest taxpayers. Talk about locker room humor–that is, the locker room at a country club.
After you read this article, check out David Corn’s NEW WEBLOG by going to www.davidcorn.com. And see Corn’s latest entry on how Rep. Porter Goss, Bush’s pick to be CIA chief, went easy on the CIA regarding its big screw-up on Iraq’s WMDs.
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